There’s a certain kind of person that attends book launches. I know that’s a terrible generalisation, but it’s true. Of course, in amongst the Bohemian-outfitted, short-fringed, intellectually bespectacled and lightly made up bright young things, there are exceptions. The tallest girl on earth was one, the tiny lady who sat behind me on the floor, her legs stretched under my chair was another. The gregarious and lovely older man and his Canadian wife next to us also crashed my generalisation into the floor.
“He’s like a Jewish mother,” his wife smiled at us, as he returned from his third trip downstairs, his hands balancing snacks, half of which he insisted were for us.
They hadn’t read the book. Neither had we. They were also unaware of who Ruby Wax was, or where she was from, or why she’d commanded quite such an audience for her book launch on a Friday late afternoon at The Book Lounge. “Celebrity,” I sagely nodded, doing my best to look book launchy. “It’s a pity the turnout’s not like this for local authors.” I spoke out of turn because, actually, I haven’t been to any other book launches there. I have to admit this fraudulent act.
I will, however, go again. It was fascinating. Not only the people-watching, but the conversation between Ruby Wax about her new book on mental illness – A Sane New World – and South African author Rahla Xenopoulos, was fascinating. And really, really, funny, despite the serious subject matter. There’s a lot to be said about tackling a subject that is difficult to speak about with a huge dollop of candidness and humour. Ruby Wax does that. The really cool thing, though, is that she hasn’t written it from a purely personal point-of-view. It contains science, too, Ruby Wax having just graduated from Oxford with a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
I like science and I like funny stuff. I think I’ll like the book. I’ll let you know.
In the meantime I think I may buy myself some Bohemian outfits (oh, wait…), put on some spectacles (oh, wait…), try out very light make-up (oh, wait…) and cut myself a fringe (yes! I’ll cut myself a fringe). I think I like book launches and I feel I owe it to the world to, albeit retrospectively, find out if my comment was indeed a fraud.
I hope to prove myself wrong.